Simple Tips for Incontinence Care
Providing care for a loved one can get tough, these tips may help by CEO Deanne Martin Soares.
Jun 02, 2009
Providing care is an ongoing learning experience that can be a daunting challenge in the beginning. This is usually because your first exposure is providing care for your parents, relatives or spouse. It becomes a challenge not only because of the physical and emotional demands, but also because certain care issues can be very uncomfortable for the one needing care and the one providing the care. The issue of incontinence, is one that most people have a hard time discussing and helping someone cope with it can be even harder. It’s also something that, although it may seem somewhat unpleasant, needs to be explained so that if you every have to deal with this issue, you can do so with some confidence that you understand what needs to be done.
Normal bladder routines are interrupted for many reasons including infections, prostate trouble, diabetes, dementia, immobility, surgical procedures, medications and aging muscles. Urinary continence depends on the bladder's ability to store and expel urine and an individual's ability to get to the toilet on time and properly adjust their clothing. Lack of motivation can also be a factor. There are many types of urinary incontinence:
- Urge incontinence is the sudden urge to go but not enough time to get there.
- Stress incontinence is when urine is lost when laughing, sneezing, or lifting a heavy object.
- Overflow incontinence is often seen in men with prostrate problems, which in turn may cause dribbling.
- Transient incontinence is the term used for acute episodes of wetting, often after a new medication has been started, in individuals who have not soiled themselves in the past.
- Functional incontinence is seen in the elderly with dementia, head injury or stroke.
With any type of incontinence, it’s important to know how to assist the person so that they can enjoy life without suffering the likely affects of incontinence.
- Remind the person to go to the bathroom and show them the way.
- Place a picture or sign on the door to the bathroom, as a subtle self-reminder and for people who can be easily confused.
- Schedule frequent, regular trips to the bathroom.
- Assist the person with adjusting his/her clothing. Make sure clothing can easily be removed. (Sweat outfits are a good idea)
- Keep track of the times they urinate; this establishes a record of toileting patterns. To be successful with toileting there must be consistency. Toileting methods must be consistent throughout a 24-hour period.
- A bedside commode or urinal is helpful if there is difficulty getting to a bathroom.
- Limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol that is consumed, but do not withhold other fluids in order to urinate less.
Although some of these steps seem rather simple, it could be all that is needed to help relieve the burden of incontinence and the uncomfortable feelings that come from it. It is also important to know the person your assisting and make yourself aware of potential problems. Watch for signs or gestures indicating a need to toilet. Pay particular attention to the skin condition of an incontinent person, watching at every opportunity for skin breakdown. Use pads and diapers with caution since they can be uncomfortable, demoralizing and often make incontinence a more severe permanent problem.
Most importantly, remember to treat the person with dignity and respect in dealing with any problem that can be uncomfortable. If you do that then the person will be more open to allowing you to assist them so that everyone is comfortable.